Business leaders and hiring managers are pretty much familiar with the dilemma of hiring someone overqualified for a position. More often than not, this doesn’t end well for either or both parties. But in today’s episode, John Laurito shares the instances when this type of hire can work. So if you’re currently in this dilemma or wondering how to go about it, if you’ll do, then make sure to tune in.
[0:26] On hiring someone overqualified for a position
[1:57] The impact on the organization’s culture and resources
[3:46] As the manager/leader, here is what you need to do
[7:11] What this person needs to be clear on
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good?
John Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader related related to leaning yourself and leading others, I am John Laurito your host today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after, last week, every day.
John So I want to talk about a concept or a topic that I do get asked about. I was asked about recently, but my feelings about this, and that was the topic of when you have a candidate for a position that is overqualified, clearly over qualified for the position. Are there any times you hire that person and if so, what are they like or what circumstances would you hire somebody for a position that they are clearly overqualified for? I will be the first one to say that to me was always a a very dangerous place to go.
John More times than not, I find and have found that hiring somebody who is overqualified for a position as expected does not end well or end up being a good decision. Now that said, I had a conversation with the person, I said, You know what? There are certain circumstances where I have seen it work out very well, but it is very unique and very specific, and you have to understand what circumstances or characteristics make that person a good hire versus a majority of the time where it may not be. And the fact of the matter is sometimes people are overqualified for a role because they have the intentions of using it as a stopping point or a place that they can learn some income while they’re looking for something better.
John It may be that they just have short term income needs that need to be solved. And as a as an organization, as a leader, as a CEO, hiring somebody that ends up costing you a lot to bring that person in and all the people power devoted toward onboarding that person for them to leave in six months or a year is really painful and it’s very, very costly, and it’s also an impact on the culture. So for that reason, yes, you know, fire quickly, hire slowly, take your time to find the right person. But that overqualified person sometimes can say all the right things.
John They certainly have a great resume. They get you thinking, wow would be terrific. And yeah, maybe there is this reason for whatever it is that they want to. Maybe it’s our organization. It just attracts them so much. It appeals to them. They love our culture, they love me, they love blah blah blah. We can convince ourselves on that very easily. And oftentimes again, we make the wrong decision and we get burned by that. But I have seen it work out. I have seen it work out very, very well. And and what this really comes down to is really understanding what are the circumstances behind their decision or desire to want to take on this role and responsibility.
John So any time I’ve been recruiting somebody or interviewing somebody, if they if they’ve been too eager for the role, that’s also a red flag. It’s kind of a perfect balance of them, you know, really being a little tough to get you pulling but not having to pull too too hard. You don’t want to get somebody that you’ve really got to convince too much, but you want to know that this person really gave it a lot of thought.
John So if they’re too eager and too willing to, you know, jump at it without really totally without asking a lot of questions, without understanding what the role is really about. Ultimately, that can be a really dangerous situation to get into. So ultimately, here’s what this comes down to. You’ve got to be willing to ask the right questions. You’ve got to be willing to have a conversation with this person about what is their motivation. What’s the reason behind this? Why are they actually looking and willing to take a huge income cut or take a much smaller scope role or take a step back, as it seems in their career when I have seen this makes sense, there is a reason behind it.
John I’ve seen individuals that maybe had a high level of corporate responsibility and job that might have been very well paying, but ultimately was just having too much of a cost on them physically, mentally, family wise, lifestyle wise, everything. And and I get that. I do get that. I understand that, but I really have to understand clearly that there is. That’s part of the reason that they’re looking to take on a different responsibility. One of the best hires I’ve seen was an individual that was in that category that was a corporate leader. Very, very successful for many, many years, took a role that just seemed well below what his capabilities would be. \.
John But he did it for the right reasons. He wanted to spend time with his son, who was now in college and playing football. He had some family. He won a desire to spend more and more time with his family. He had some outside passions. And at that stage in his life, he had earned a lot of money. He had already built up a lot of wealth, and at this stage it was not about the money. It was about doing something that he really enjoyed that gave him the flexibility to do the other things in life and spend the time with the people in his life that he wanted to. And at the same point feel like he was really impacted and contributing a lot to.
John At that point, it was a small organization. Well, he joined and made a massive contribution to that organization. I mean, massive. He’s been there, to my knowledge, probably about 10 years and doing extremely well. And it was a Win-Win all the way around here. He now has the life that he wanted. Not earning, but he’s earned a great money. But he was not earning the, you know, corporate senior VP level a compensation that he was before. But it doesn’t matter. His life is great. And it’s multiples better than it was in his corporate life. Less stress, more enjoyment, better relationships of people in and out of work, just overall, a better life. So that I think about is a very legitimate reason for somebody to take on a role that they are clearly maybe overqualified for.
John But you have to ask the right questions and understand that you can’t feed it to them. You can’t say, Well, you’re not going to do this because you’re stressed out and you’re looking for a balance in this and that you have to just really understand what’s their motivation. You know, ask them, what are the other roles that you’re interviewing for right now? I always ask that question. I love asking that question. What other opportunities are you in the process of seeking out if the other ones are really significant ones? And this is not? Well, then I know there’s a flaw in what they’re telling me or it’s not lining up. You know, I just did a podcast on your actions that line up with what you say, what their actions are isn’t line up, what they’re saying.
John They’re saying they’re looking for something that gives them less responsibility because they want more flexibility for other parts of their life. Yet they’re looking at other opportunities that are right in line with what they have been doing for the last decade or two decades. So those are the types of things that you really need to be able to ask. What I also think about is if this person in this, this is critical, this person has to be crystal clear on what this role actually is. So even though that motivation makes sense, you have to paint the picture super clearly for this person of what this role is and what it’s not. I never wanted somebody coming in and saying, OK, hey, you know what? I’m going to take this role. It’s well below what I’m qualified for, but I know there’s a growth trajectory and getting in at the small company at a perfect time and as it grows, I’m going to have more and more opportunity.
John If that’s not reality, I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want somebody coming in feeling like this is going to be a stepping stone to be the CEO of the company. If it’s not, I want to know not just why they’re taking it now. What’s their short term goals? But I also want to ask you about their vision. Hey, if you came here to this organization and and three, four or five years later, you were feeling great that this was the best decision ever. What’s happened? OK? What does this look like? Ask that question. If you’ve been here for five years and you love it and you’re excited and you feel like you’re right on the right track, what has happened? OK? That’s not only a fair question. It’s a very powerful question. You’re going to get a great answer to make sure that their long term goals line up with yours.
John So if they say, Hey, listen, I just I want to know I’m contributing to a company in a massive way, in a big way. I don’t want a role that’s got this huge scope and responsibility. I don’t want a lot of people reporting to me. I want to know that I’m what I’m doing is valuable. It’s making a big impact. I want to have fun with it. I’m not looking to knock the ball out of the park with income. I’ve done that, been there. That’s not my main motivator. I just want to have balance in my life, and I want to be part of an organization that I love people I love. OK, now I’m here in the right things, and as long as their long term goal is lining up with what this position entails, great. Now it’s up to me to paint the clear picture. Hey, you know, here’s what this role looks like. Here’s what it is. And here’s what it’s not OK, so I’m going to, if anything, probably over emphasize the the negatives of it. If there’s some really menial parts of the role, I want to be really clear with that. I’m not trying to dress it up as something.
John It’s not OK, but I don’t win. If I do that, I may get somebody on board. And that’s the worst thing in the world when you haven’t been clear and there’s surprises. And then all of a sudden there’s friction and loss of trust and ultimately that person’s not here. I want to be crystal clear, right from the start of what this role entails and what the path is long term. So if I’ve done that, if I understand their motivations, their desires, short term and long term, I’ve been super clear with what this role is and the expectations and the people they’re going to be working with in the upside and the downside and everything about it. And there’s a mutual agreement on this…then go for it. That’s my advice.
John Those are the circumstances where somebody who is on paper overqualified for a role can actually make sense. Disclaimer: More times than not, it does not make sense, and it does not work. But there are some exceptions, and those are the exceptions. So hope that helps. I know that’s been a question. I’ve been asked recently a couple of times, so I figured I’d do a podcast on it.
John That’s a cool thing about having a podcast. I can do stuff. I can talk about stuff when I get questions I can share with a whole audience in 66 different countries. Yes, we’re in 66 different countries. I love that. So let me know your thoughts. Let me answer your questions. Your suggestions for future topics or guests. I got some great guests lined up. They’ll be coming soon.
John As always, share like subscribe. Share this with your friends. Share this with your family. Share this with people in your company. Get them on board with with being an audience, a loyal audience follower, audience member or follower, whatever like you are a great greatly greatly appreciate that and go down below. Give five star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody, bye!
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!